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The year 1986

The trend for moderate growth (+2.5 percent) accompanied by noticeable country-specific variations continued to dictate the development of the global economy in 1986. In the OECD states, national economies were characterised by a similarly moderate rise in gross national product (also +2.5 percent), a slight increase in domestic demand, a moderate increase in foreign trade resulting from the fall in the US dollar rate, a barely appreciable fall in unemployment and low rates of inflation. There was more dynamic development in some “threshold countries”. For example, the People's Republic of China increased its industrial production by 11.1 percent and in the Republic of China (Taiwan), overall economic growth of 10.8 percent was achieved, mainly on the back of industrial goods exports.

In the Federal Republic, the rate of economic growth remained practically constant, at 2.4 percent in real terms. Other characterising features were the noticeable increase in private consumption, price stability, a reduction in government expenditure rate, but also a practically unchanged unemployment figure of 2.22 million (1985: 2.38 million), with corporate insolvency figures still hardly falling at all (1986: 18,840; 1985: 18,870). In the industrial sector, it was only in the production of consumer goods that it proved possible to achieve higher sales than in the previous year (+1.8 percent). Raw materials and capital goods industries developed to a less satisfactory degree and the rate of production growth in the secondary sector overall was cut by half (+2.5 percent).

Even with the sound economic situation in the automotive and textile industries and the falling prices for raw materials such as oil and coal generally providing the basis for solid growth in the chemicals industry, German companies still fell far short of the high rates of growth achieved in previous years, recording a fall in sales of 5.4 percent as a result of reduced prices. The high level of demand in the machine tools business segment, however, provided German mechanical engineering with an above average increase in sales of 3.7 percent. The number of people employed in mechanical engineering also rose by 3.7 percent, thus underlining its position as the industrial sector in the Federal Republic accounting for the largest number of employees.

Annual report 1986 (German)